Major League Baseball
2024 MLB odds: Kansas City rolling, books wonder 'Can the Royals keep it up?'
Major League Baseball

2024 MLB odds: Kansas City rolling, books wonder 'Can the Royals keep it up?'

Updated May. 31, 2024 3:41 p.m. ET

Despite a 35-22 record and +81 run differential nearing the month of June, the Kansas City Royals have the seventh-best odds to win the American League pennant at most sportsbooks across the country.

Kansas City is clearly ahead of schedule given its preseason win total (73.5), but bettors still aren’t rushing to purchase Royals stock. Most people couldn’t name five players on the roster, plus the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles loom large as the junior circuit’s final bosses.

The always-respected Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas is currently dealing the Royals at 20-1 to reach the 2024 World Series, the best price anywhere.

Why so high?


Royals AL pennant odds: *

South Point: +1000 (bet $10 to win $110 total)
DraftKings: +1100 (bet $10 to win $120 total)
ESPN BET: +1200 (bet $10 to win $130 total)
BetRivers: +1400 (bet $10 to win $150 total)
BetMGM: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
Caesars: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
Circa: +1600 (bet $10 to win $170 total)
FanDuel: +1800 (bet $10 to win $190 total)
SuperBook: +2000 (bet $10 to win $210 total)

* odds as of 5/30/24

"We’re not anti-Royals," SuperBook senior baseball trader Randy Blum told FOX Sports. "We love the way they’ve been pitching and Bobby Witt Jr. is a sensational player. We’re just willing to wait it out a little bit.

"There’s a little bit of [Kansas City] liability right now, but nothing excessive. It’s nothing to be concerned about. We’re being patient, and we want to see the Royals keep this up for a few more weeks before we lower the price.

"We’re comfortable where we’re at on them."

RELATED: Ben Verlander's MLB Power Rankings

Blum’s team also remains bullish on the Cleveland Guardians, who sit 2.5 games ahead of Kansas City in the American League Central. For as solid as the Royals have played, the Guardians have been even better.

Believe it or not, the Guardians [+16.2 units] and Royals [+14.1 units] are baseball’s two most profitable teams for bettors per Statfox.

"Our guys were high on Cleveland before the season," Blum recalled. We thought the Guardians were overlooked, and it’s played that way out so far. We still believe Cleveland is going to pull away and win the division."

Maybe we should just crown them, eh? 

"I don’t want to downplay what Kansas City has done," Blum countered. "That’s a young baseball team with a bright future. Witt is a generational talent. He can do it all. Power, speed, average, great glove. And since he’s come up, he’s gotten better and better. Guys like that are rarities.  

"[Salvador] Perez is having a great year, too, but it’s the pitching that’s led to all their success. It’s difficult to imagine their starting pitchers holding up like this for another 100-plus games. Ragans has been a legit ace and Lugo’s been amazing. My biggest concerns are the guys after that.

"You can’t sustain this with two quality pitchers."

Blum makes valid, concrete points, but baseball is a wacky game. It’s not uncommon for teams to make unexpected playoff runs. Just ask the 2005 Chicago White Sox, 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, 2014 Kansas City Royals, 2019 Washington Nationals and 2023 Texas Rangers.

It could happen.

The toughest part about betting is balancing perception and reality. Obviously, the Royals aren’t as bad as their regular-season win total projected. And sure, they might not be good enough to win the pennant, but the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

If Kansas City keeps silencing critics, their prices will plummet.

"That’s the question we’ve been asking ourselves," Blum admitted. "Can the Royals keep this up? We’ve gradually lowered their prices from where they were before the season, but at some point, you take a stance."

Take one look around the Vegas betting market and one sportsbook at the southern tip of the strip has already slashed its Royals’ pennant price to 10-1. I’m not betting that number when there are 16, 18 and 20-1 readily available, but it goes to show you some people believe more than others.

Any postseason push by Kansas City will likely have to march straight through either Baltimore or New York and that’s terrifying. The Orioles and Yankees are loaded with talent and the Bronx Bombers have excelled with a rather sluggish offense and without their best starting pitcher.

The Yanks are downright scary at full strength.

"For them, it all depends on [Gerrit] Cole," Blum forecasted. "They’re saying he could return in June. It’s more likely after the All-Star break. If he comes back, and he’s the Cole we’re used to, that’s adding an ace from in-house.

"The Yankees’ starting pitching has been amazing and if you add Cole to the mix, you probably don’t need to do much else with the rotation given how the young guys have thrown. 

"I don’t think the Yankees need a big splash. They need to get guys going at the same time. Guys have taken turns carrying the offense. Their big-picture success depends on guys they’ve got and guys that’ve missed time."

If you lined up 10 baseball writers, eight or nine of them would probably pick the Yankees or Baltimore Orioles to make the Fall Classic right now. 

RELATED: Aaron Judge, Bobby Witt Jr. make Ben Verlander's Team of the Week

It’s not that I disagree with those predictions, I’m just not betting the Bronx Bombers at 5-2 or the Orioles at 4-1. The best prices are long gone and sportsbooks are daring you to dive a little deeper down the page.

Don’t mind me at the deep end of the pool.  

Teams can win playoff series behind solid pitching and defense. As the month of May winds down, the Royals have the fifth-best ERA and third-best fielding percentage. That’s the epitome of pitching and catching the baseball.  

If Kansas City outlasts Cleveland and wins the AL Central or squeaks into the playoffs as a Wild Card team, I'll be ecstatic with a relatively big price in my back pocket in October. 

I'm buying some Royals pennant stock at 18-1 or higher. 

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He'll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot. 

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